Ron Paul: Collectivist hate crimes bill a “serious threat to freedom of speech”

This Wednesday afternoon, Ron Paul joined John McManus, David Bruckner, Mary Ruwart and Jim Babka for an insightful discussion of the latest political and economic developments, including the “Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act”, a bill that would expand the 1969 US federal hate crime law to include crimes motivated by a victim’s actual or perceived gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability.

Part 1: (Ron Paul)
Part 2: (Ron Paul)
Part 3:
Part 4:
Part 5:
Part 6:

Channel: Fox News Strategy Room
Show: Freedom Watch
Host: Judge Andrew Napolitano
Date: 7/1/2009

Transcript of Ron Paul’s appearance

Judge Andrew Napolitano: Joining me now from the great state of Texas is Congressman Ron Paul. Congressman, I know you’re on vacation this week, though knowing you, you’re just working in Texas instead of in Washington. Welcome back to Freedom Watch.

Ron Paul: Thank you, Judge. Good to be with you.

Judge Andrew Napolitano: Thank you. The House of Representatives passed this legislation [HR 1913, Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009, April 29, 2009, by a vote of 249–175, with support from 231 Democrats and 18 Republicans] and like they sometimes do, they inserted language in there which arguably could be used to stifle hostile or aggressive political speech on the airwaves or, as the legislation says, implicating interstate commerce. Meaning I could say something hostile and putting the mail or put it in FedEx or say something hostile over the Internet or on Fox News, and if the government doesn’t like it, it could come after me. Is freedom of political speech endangered if the Senate passes this and the President signs it into law?

Ron Paul: Oh, it is very much in danger and it’s getting worse. It’s not brand new, it’s just accelerating. I think it started a long time ago when the courts and the legislative bodies decided that speech was not one thing; there was commercial speech and political speech. Once it was accepted that you could regulate commercial speech anytime you please, the next step was political speech, and that’s what we’re moving into.

And some in this country happen to believe that the left tend to be better on civil liberties and protection of the first amendment, but I don’t think it was the extreme right that was promoting this type of legislation. It met with the acceptance by many on the right as well.

But I think it’s lack of understanding, lack of desire and no real effort to protect freedom of speech. I think they have forgotten the fact that individuals have a right to speak out; it should be protected. The job of the government should be to protect speech, not to regulate it.

And I think another thing that happened over the years has been that we started seeing rights as being collective. Then you have group rights, you have rights by belonging to a sexual group, gay groups, and by race, and it shouldn’t be that way. It should be individuals and once they start protecting [groups] it undermines the whole principle of this and we can’t have it.

We can have government limited to protecting us against violence and fraud and theft. Unfortunately I see the government being much more involved in violence, fraud and theft and now doing the things that they’re not supposed to be doing. They failed to do the things they were supposed to do and they embark on these other things now like regulation of speech. And I agree with you, I think this is a serious threat to our freedom of speech in this country.

Judge Andrew Napolitano: You and I have argued together and in the same form that the only legitimate role of government is to protect our freedoms. This is the opposite. This is selectively choosing which freedoms to protect and which freedoms to assault. Shall I assume that with the swearing in of Senator Al Franken – sounds weird to say those three words together, Senator Al Franken – that this is likely to pass the Senate and our only hope with respect to it is that the courts will uphold the constitution and strike down the parts of it that so obviously offend the first amendment?

Ron Paul: Yeah, I guess that’s our best hope, but I’ve never been very positive on the courts protecting me. At times we have an occasional ruling but it’s just a shame on the way we’re going, but yes, I think it will pass the Senate rather easily now. The President likes these kinds of thing. Now we will be making judgments on people’s motivation. Two people will be treated differently, there’ll be relative value placed on one group versus another group so you can get a greater penalty and they’ll, “Well, we don’t believe in discrimination.” But that’s exactly what they’re doing. If it’s a greater penalty for one group against the other one that means you are discriminating against one group. They fail to see people as individuals rather than put them in groups.

Judge Andrew Napolitano: I deplore collectivism, it’s that awful theory that people are judged and evaluated by the groups to which they are members, either by an accident of birth like race or gender or age because they choose voluntarily to belong to a group. But it’s a political philosophy that we have to evaluate with.

Before we move on to the Fed and the status of HR 1207, do you think that this particular clause of this statue which would permit prosecution – and by the way, it actually says in the statute “shall serve a jail term of two years in a federal institution.” It’s rare in a statute like that that the penalty is stated and it’s rare that the world ‘shall’ shall be in there. It’s almost like the judges are being told they have to incarcerate someone convicted if using hostile speech over interstate lines. But my question, Congressman Paul, is do you think that this particular clause in this statute is an end-run around the freedom of the speech on airwaves? Or stated differently, do you think that this is the beginning of the so-called fairness doctrine where they’ll come after me if I say something that’s perceived as hostile to the government.

Ron Paul: I think they’re after the fairness doctrine. They want that and that’s probably a step to they’re moving in, because they’ve been fretting about that for a good many years. So, anything that they can do to move in that direction to control the air waves, they’re going to do it.

Judge Andrew Napolitano: What is the status of your bill to audit the Fed? Is Congressman Barney Frank of Massachusetts, who is in the chair of the House Financial Services Committee, sitting on it even though more than half the members of the House are co-sponsors? Is there any more push toward it becoming law in light of the President’s proposals to have the Fed of all abominable institutions be the principle regulator of financial institutions in the country?

Ron Paul: I don’t think we’re at a dead end yet with the Banking Committee or with Chairman Frank, although things are moving slower than I would like. We had a hearing scheduled a week or so ago and it came out on a Wednesday and the Fed had a meeting and we were supposed to review this kind of regulations in general and he assured me this is the time to start talking about HR 1207. Then later on he would have another hearing dealing only with HR1207. Well, that particular hearing was cancelled because the Federal Reserve was in session and they couldn’t come over. Then we had this week out of Washington so it remains to be seen whether something will come up next week.

But we’re getting awfully close to wondering whether we’re going a little bit slower than he’s been more or less assuring me. But so far I am still hoping he will come true with his promises that he will hold hearings.

Judge Andrew Napolitano: So just as a matter of the rules of the House of Representatives, could a single person, whether the speaker or the chair of the appropriate committee stop a bill from getting to the floor that had more than half the members of the house as co-sponsors?

Ron Paul: Oh sure, that’s very easy. They just don’t bring it up because they have monopoly control of the floor. So the speaker ultimately has the say and, of course, the majority leader has a lot to say. So Hoyer could bring it up tomorrow if he wants unless Pelosi objected to it, but that’s the way it works all the time.

But it has been anticipated this might happen, that’s why there is a rule of discharge petition. Some people think if we have more than 218 people sign on that they have to bring it to the floor. That’s only if you have 218 sign on a discharge petition. Those 72 Democrats that have signed on to the bill will not be signing a discharge petition. If we got two of them we’d be lucky. Some of our allies are a little bit frustrated with me for not immediately starting a discharge petition. And that will not work and besides it would just slow up the process. It will sort of mess up what I’m trying to do now to try to encourage it through the routine channels. But no, you could have 300 co-sponsors, they do not need to bring it up unless you have a discharge petition signed.

Judge Andrew Napolitano: So much for what Jefferson called, “the people’s house,” the House of Representatives. On this 4th of July it’s such a joy to be speaking to a champion of personal liberty in the House of Representatives, and I think in all of the government.

How would an Audit of the Fed work? I mean, who would conduct the audit and would it ever actually happen or would the Fed just go away or go somewhere before we learned the truth about it? I mean, the truth could be so horrendous that the reaction to the truth would be cataclysmic. There would be some unintended consequence that the Fed might lose all its power.

Ron Paul: Well, the GAO would do it, that’s who does the audits and they’re supposed to be independent and they have a pretty good reputation. But they have been prohibited by law, so if we repeal that prohibition they have to go in and do it. The bill says they have to do it within a year. And I think it would be remarkable to find out exactly what they’ve done, what they’ve agreed to, what kind of commitments they’ve made, what kind of collaborations with other central banks …

So I don’t think they’re going to be very happy with that and I think as things move along. And they may have already stopped it by having gotten an assurance from Nancy Pelosi said it will never come to the floor. We don’t know that yet, and we might be able to get them on another bill, so we can’t come to that conclusion. But as far as what the Fed might do is they will resist it all the way. I think right now the big plan is… I think they understand that the dollar reserve standard is done and they will not go back to that. And that’s what you hear about when the Chinese and others, who have a lot of clout now, saying that we have to go to a new system, we have to go to the IMF and we’re going to have another world currency. So by the time we get the books open they’ll try and have some new deal going on someplace else.

Judge Andrew Napolitano: Congressman Paul, on this 4th of July weekend I’m bombarded with even more emails – you probably are as well – than I usually get. And the central question is almost always the same, it’s very poignant this weekend: What can freedom loving Americans do to get freedom back? I mean, there is not a Ron Paul running for office in every state and in every Congressional district. And frequently it’s a choice, as Barry Goldwater used to say, “between twiddle dee and twiddle dum.” But what can does of us who don’t want twiddle dee or twiddle dum do?

Ron Paul: All I know is it’s probably going to be different for every single one. You do your share of the work and you do it your way and you have a platform. I do it my way and others will have to find a way to do it. They can help you, they can help me, they can run for office. I think the most important thing still is studying. I mean how long did it take you to figure out all of this? It took me a long time. You know, I figured I had to unlearn a lot of things pumped into my head. So it probably took 15 to 20 years to figure this whole thing out.

So I think the most important thing people do is they study and understand our history, our constitution and what liberty is all about, and there’ll be a place for you. And of course, we’re very much involved with the Campaign for Liberty and others can join in that effort. But each and every individual has a role and a responsibility.

And I tell people at my rallies that if you have discovered this and you’ve figured it out and you know what’s wrong, you have a greater burden of responsibility than the people who just go about their daily activities; they don’t know and they don’t care. Once you discover this it’s just natural that you have a great deal of responsibility and that’s where I think we are making some inroads. But it is a personal choice. To me its education and becoming politically active.

Judge Andrew Napolitano: Congressman Ron Paul, it’s always a pleasure. Happy 4th of July to you, Congressman. Thanks for joining us.

Ron Paul: Thank you, same to you.